How to unblock the internet at school
How to unblock the internet at school

The Internet is the most important technology of our modern time. It is used widely to gather information and conduct research on various subjects for educational purposes. The Internet is useful and important in education. Everyone prefers to Google answers to their questions, problems, or doubts. 

Today, it has become a powerful tool in the world that everyone prefers. Students need the Internet to find information related to exams, curriculum, results, etc. For example, if you need help with essay writing, there is an option to pay for research paper online. Academic writers provide professional services online that are easy to use for all of us. Many students find that it helps them to keep up with their studies and still have time to do what they love and work part-time.

Students use special programs and imperfect content filters to access banned sites. We’ll look at nine ways to bypass blockages on the school network and give tips on how to prevent them.

Educational institutions are legally required to filter Internet traffic. So, to comply with 436-FZ and 114-FZ, schools install content filters. On the one hand, they allow to protect students from dangerous content, on the other hand, they help to pass prosecutorial checks and avoid fines.

However, having an Internet filtering service at school is not a panacea. Students use various loopholes to bypass content filters. This allows students to access sites with pornography, drugs, and other forbidden content. Let’s look at ways to bypass blocking and methods to counter them.

Surpassing site-blocking through a proxy-server

A proxy is an intermediary between a user’s computer where the request comes from and the system of Internet servers. The main purpose of a proxy is to change the IP address. Proxy change allows bypassing restrictions and access to prohibited sites.

You can set up work through the proxy with a single browser. For example, CGI proxies are made as simple sites where you can enter the URL of blocked resources. Other proxy servers have extended functionality. They allow you to choose the country of access and indicate the type of proxy and the level of anonymity.

You can also work through the proxy server in the computer settings. You need to change network settings in Windows for this. You have to specify the script address for automatic settings and the address and port for manual settings.

Most content filters block anonymizers and proxies. But only the most popular ones are often banned. For example, proxies from the Asian region help bypass not only the “Great Chinese Firewall”, but also restrictions around the world.

Solution:

  • Running the content filter on a “white” list only will prevent bypassing blocking through CGI proxies and analogs. Students simply will not be able to access sites that are not on the “white” list. 
  • To prevent changes to the network settings, it is necessary to limit the rights of user accounts. Without administrator rights, students will not be able to change network settings. 

Changing the DNS server

DNS stands for Domain Name System. Translated – the system of domain names. In this system, each domain name corresponds to the IP address of the site. Most ISPs block sites at the domain name query level. 

Changing the DNS server can help you bypass the blocking. To do this, instead of the DNS-server of the ISP in the network settings set public DNS-server. Then you can freely access the previously blocked sites.

Solution

  • To prevent the DNS-server change you should restrict access rights for the user accounts. The lack of administrator rights will prevent students from changing network settings.

Editing hosts file

The hosts’ file is the file responsible for converting the character domain names into the corresponding IP addresses and vice versa. For example, before opening the site computer converts the literal name of google.com into its corresponding number 173.194.112.98.

The hosts’ text document is located in standard system folders. The exact location depends on the operating system. For example, in Windows, the hosts are located in subfolders system32.

The contents of the hosts’ file can be edited with a notepad or any other text editor. This allows you to add there the IP address and addresses of the prohibited site. The computer will read the information from the edited file bypassing the DNS server. 

Solution:

Student accounts must not have administrator privileges. This will prevent the hosts’ files from being edited.

Bypassing blocking through browsers

Students use browsers with special functionality to bypass blockages.

1. Tor Browser – an application for the anonymous network of the same name. Tor network hides user data, as well as encrypts and transmits traffic to different Tor servers.

2. Opera is equipped with a built-in VPN function. When the VPN is activated, Opera replaces the user’s real IP address with a virtual one. 

Solution:

  • Use browsers without the above features: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge. Additionally, restrict rights for user accounts. Without administrator rights, students will not be able to install new browsers.

Extensions to bypass website blocking

Plug-ins are browser extensions. They are free and can be installed on almost any web browser: Google Chrome, Opera, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge. 

There are various plugins to bypass blocking: iNinja Proxy, ZenMate VPN, Hotspot Shield, TunnelBear VPN, and so on. Similar to proxy servers, they mask users’ real IP addresses. After installing such an extension, the browser opens previously inaccessible sites.

Solution:

  • If your school uses the Chrome browser, you can install Chrome Enterprise. It’s a cloud-based solution for managing user access to data, apps, and extensions.
  • Work on a “whitelist” only. In this case, students will not be able to put plug-ins on the browser through specialized stores.

Euphemisms, slang, slang, letter substitutions, and generalized names

Euphemisms allow you to bypass filtering. Meaning-neutral words and phrases sometimes describe indecent actions and things. For example, the expression “leaky attic” means not only the bad condition of the room under the roof of the building but also an unstable mental/emotional state in a person. Simply put – crazy or psychotic. Euphemisms can mislead not only people but also content filters. 

Some filters let slang through. In each of the banned categories of sites, some terms are common within the group. So the drug industry has its expressions, the porn industry has its own, and so on.

Generalized names are also at risk. So it is enough to spell out the term not directly, but generically, as a group. As a rule, there are directories or forum in the search engine that contain links to the subject of interest.

Solution:

  • In all cases, working only on the “white” list will help. Safe search will work with varying success. It is unrealistic to foresee all possible variations of words and phrases. And with deliberate distortions even more so.

Remote access programs 

Students use remote access programs. They allow you to control one device with the help of another. In this case, the devices themselves can be at a great distance from each other.

As a program, they use TeamViewer or its analogs. The programs are put on the training and home computer. At a convenient time, students establish a connection with the home device. It is possible to go to the blocked sites. 

Solution:

  • In this case, limiting the rights of the user accounts will help. Without administrator rights, students will not be able to install third-party software.

Website translators 

Some search engines allow you to bypass Internet filters with text translation systems. Automatic translation changes the language of the page, for example, English to French. Translation also allows you to open blocked sites.

Google and Yahoo have a text translation feature. If you want to visit a blocked foreign site, just click the “Translate this page” or “Translate” button in the search box.

Solution:

  • There are several solutions. The first is to use only the “white” list. The second is to configure a safe search and not use Google and Yahoo search engines.

Cached pages

A cached page is a page that has gone into search engine memory. Some content filters allow you to open such pages. In some browsers they may be blocked, in others, they may be open.

Cached pages can be accessed via search engine results. It is enough to open the saved copies opposite the sites you are looking for. The pages may be somewhat out of date. But they may be open.

Solution:

  • It will not be possible to open a cached page if you work through a safe search or only the “white” list.

Students use a variety of ways to bypass blocking. Limiting user account privileges, whitelisting only, and safe searches will do the trick for most.

Ways to combat blocking bypasses can help during prosecutorial inspections. No one will intentionally install programs, change DNS servers or try to access a banned site through a proxy server. The assistant prosecutor may simply make a mistake when spelling the word. The result of the search results may be unpleasantly surprising.

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